An In Depth Guide: Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland hides within it a range of remarkable experiences that makes a journey to New Zealand truly memorable. From serene, vibrant gardens to buzzing city hubs, there’s always something new to be seen in this energetic capital. Here are a few insider tips that may help you plan your next trip to Auckland. 

The Seasons of Auckland 

Spring – September, October and November: 11°C - 18°C


Summer – December, January and February: 16°C - 24°C


Autumn – March, April and May: 13°C - 18°C


Winter – June, July and August: 8°C to 14°C

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The Best Time to Visit Auckland 

Auckland’s peak season occurs when temperatures are warmest during the year. Around summertime (December to March), the temperature is pleasant, typically not exceeding 24°C. However, crowds will be bigger and hotel costs are likely to rise during this period. 

The low season of Auckland is from June through to September. These months will be colder and will receive less sunlight. However hotel costs are likely to be cheaper in Auckland during this time and crowds will be smaller. 

The best time to visit Auckland is between the high and low seasons (October/ November or April/ May). Weather will be warmer than in winter, crowds won't be excessive and hotel cost will be reasonable. 

Flight Times and Cost 

Flight times to Auckland from Australia will vary depending on which coast you are flying out from. Flying to Auckland from the east coast of Australia will take 3 – 4 hours, whereas flying out from the west coast will take approximately 7 hours. 

The flight costs to Auckland are fairly steady throughout the year and mainly depend on which airport you are flying out from, with exception to holidays. You can expect to pay in-between $200 - $500 (AU) for a flight to Auckland, and upwards of $500 if you're coming from the west coast of Australia. If you are wanting to get the best deals on flights, it’s best to be patient and flexible with your travel dates. 

 

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Accommodation Prices in Auckland 

Accommodation prices in Auckland will vary depending on the demand and the time of year you are visiting. In the peak season (summertime), holiday rates will be higher, whereas in the low season (winter) rates will drop. 

For example, a 3 star hotel in June, on average, will cost around $103 (AU) per night whereas a 5 star hotel will cost $193 (AU). On the other hand, a 3 star hotel in January, on average, should cost $140 (AU) and a 5 star hotel will cost $380.

Prices will also vary between seasons if you are intending to rent a camper-van from Auckland. 

If you are wishing to save money on accommodation, it’s best to avoid staying in the city centre. You will find hotels 15 to 20 minutes outside the city will be much more affordable. 


The Top Attractions of Auckland 

Auckland Sky Tower

Providing visitors with sweeping views of the city, busy harbour and nearby islands, the Auckland Sky Tower has been an icon of the cityscape for over 20 years. Standing at an impressive 328 metres, the Sky Tower offers guests a collection of remarkable activities. Sit back and enjoy three quality restaurants and cafes perched up to 220 metres above the city, providing panoramic views to accompany your meal. After something with a bit more thrill? The Sky Tower also provides the SkyJump and SkyWalk. The SkyWalk experience takes guests outside the tower onto a 1.2 metre wide platform to take in the views from 192 metres up. Full body suits and harnesses are in place to ensure safety. For a quicker way down, the SkyJump involves guest’s base jumping, with a wire, off the tower. The Sky Tower is located in the heart of the city, only a 10 minute walk from Queen Street. 

Entry Cost: Adult: $29 (NZ). Child: $12 (NZ) 
Time to Allocate: 45 minutes – 1 hour

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Auckland Domain 

The Auckland Domain is the oldest park in the city, offering travellers the opportunity to walk amongst a tranquil, natural environment engulfed with native plant life. Initially forming as a result of volcanic activity over 140,000 years ago, today the domain is comprised of wintergardens, showcasing both tropical and temperate plants, fish ponds, fountains, marble statues, sporting fields and lush forests walks. You can also capture unique views of the Auckland Sky Tower from here. 
The Domain is conveniently located right next to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. A trip to this quieter location in Auckland makes for an entertaining morning. 

Entry Cost: Free
Time to Allocate: 1 Hour

 

Queen Street

Queen Street is known as the shopping hub of Auckland. Travellers can shop across a wide range of big brands and wander among smaller souvenir stores. Looking for a spot to eat? Vulcan Line, located just off Queen Street, is the perfect sport to grab a bite. With a range different cuisines to choose from, there’s a little something for everyone. 
Queen Street is located in the heart of Auckland, only 10 minutes away from the Auckland Sky Tower. 

Entry Cost: Free
Time to Allocate: As long as you’d like to shop

 

Mt Eden

Mt Eden is a lush green volcanic cone located within the city. The summit is over 196 metres high and is therefore known to be the highest natural point within the city. Shortly hike through lush, vibrant greenery before reaching the peak and taking in the beautiful, sweeping views. Mt Eden is the perfect spot to admire Auckland’s cityscape and harbour from afar. 
After it’s eruption over 15,000 years ago, Mt Eden is one of the many prominent volcanic cones still remaining in Auckland today. As the hike only takes about 15 to 20 minutes, it’s suitable for a variety of fitness levels.


Entry Cost: Free
Time to Allocate: 1 hour

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Auckland War Memorial Museum

The Auckland War Memorial Museum is an architectural masterpiece of Auckland, holding within it a vast range of captivating and engaging exhibitions. Visitors can gain a deeper insight into Maori culture, dive into the history of New Zealand, and how the two islands came to be with hands on learning experiences available. Different tours are offered to guests who wish for an in-depth guide throughout the facility. The Museum is also conveniently located right next to Auckland Domain and is only a 30 minute walk from the city centre. Paid parking is also available onsite. 

Entry Cost: Adult: $25 (NZ). Child: $10. 
Time to Allocate: 1 – 2 hours


Waiheke Island  

Only a 35 minute ferry ride from the city, Waiheke Island is the quieter paradise of Auckland. The island is home to pristine white beaches, cliff-side treks, vineyards and olive groves to explore, with spectacular views of Auckland city looming in the distance. Taxis, buses and bikes can be used to get around the island from the ferry. Cars and motor scooters can also be rented on the island. Cars that have been rented in Auckland can also be brought aboard the ferry. For those wishing to stay an extra night in this heaven, lavish beach houses can be rented or accommodation can be found at hostels.  Ferries that regularly travel to Waiheke Island are the SeaLink and Fullers Auckland. 

Entry Cost: Drive on: $175 (NZ). Walk on: Adults: $22 (NZ). Child: $12 (NZ)
Time to Allocate: Full day


Auckland Zoo

Who doesn’t love a good day at the zoo? Auckland Zoo houses a vast collection of beautiful creatures, ranging from playful monkeys and red pandas to smiling crocs and colourful birds. The zoo also offers a collection of different experiences such as photography workshops, safari nights and a behind the scene look at the animals with friendly, knowledgeable staff. 
The Auckland Zoo is located 15 minutes from the city centre, with parking available onsite. 

Entry Cost: Adult: $28 (NZ). Child: $12 (NZ)
Time to Allocate: 2 – 3 hours

 

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Transportation in Auckland 

Rent a Car

Renting a car in Auckland is the most convenient mode of transport, as it provides you with the freedom to venture in and out of the city as you please. 
Car rental costs will vary depending on companies, whether a manual or automatic is required, the model and the demand. The same will go with campervans. To save money and snag a good deal, shop around and compare prices. Find a car or camper than suits your needs for a price you’re comfortable with. 
It is important to note that parking and petrol costs should also be included in your decision making process. 

Public Transport

Using public transport will be the most cost effective mode of transport. To purchase tickets, change or an AT HOP card will be required. The AT HOP card allows you to pay via swiping the card, eliminating the need to rummage around for change. 
The cities bus service is very extensive and will be the most effective method of making your way around the city. Different bus services can navigate patrons within the inner city, inner suburbs and outer suburbs. 
The train network isn’t as effective for the whole city, but rather the southern and western suburbs with four different lines available. Ferries are also a common mode of transport for those wishing to venture out to nearby islands. 


Taxis

Although taxis can be convenient, this option can be much more costly. Fares will differ between companies and the duration of the trip. As a rough guide, a 10 minute ride will cost approximately $20 (NZ) with average traffic. This price doesn’t include surcharges and additional fees. Uber is also available in Auckland. 


Foods to Try in Auckland 

Auckland is home to a collection of traditional foods to try while visiting, with seafood being a common favourite in New Zealand. In regards to food cost, according to Lonely Planet’s Money and Cost Guide to New Zealand, an average meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost between $15 (NZ) - $32 (NZ). Here are a few foods to try during your stay in Auckland. 

- Hangi – a pit full of heated stones in which food is cooked in. 
- Hokey Pokey Ice-cream – plain vanilla ice cream with chunks of honeycomb toffee.
- Crayfish
- Manuka Honey – Honey made from the nectar of the Manuka tree. Commonly used as an alternative medicine. 
- Fish and Chips – Best had by the beach. 

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In Summary 

Auckland is a captivating destination with no shortage of things to do. Whether you’re chasing adrenaline fuelled adventure or tranquillity and relaxation, the city can provide what you’re looking for. There are a variety of different ways of navigating around the city, with the public bus system being the most effective. Whilst enjoying your stay, be sure to give a few of the local foods a try.

Heading on a campervan trip around New Zealand's North Island? Check out an in-depth guide here.